Managing weight loss is a life-long pursuit, but you don't need to do it on your own. That's where having a support system comes into play.
Research shows that people who use weight-maintenance programs have a better chance of keeping weight off. Reinforcement from surrounding people who are experiencing the same challenge has been shown to help change behavior. Often health care providers want to know who can help their patients as they lose weight.
Feeling supported and understood may help you stay motivated and tackle the task of losing weight and keeping it off. Experts say the longer a person has support, the better the chances of him or her keeping the weight off.
Having a support system is helpful because temptations to break your healthful habits pop up daily. There are many opportunities to derail your healthy eating and exercise plan - from office break rooms to family gatherings to your home kitchen. A support person can give you encouragement and perspective, especially when you are feeling discouraged.
Where can you get support?
Support can come in many forms and in a variety of ways. Here are a few:
Regular check-ins with your health care professional may help you reach your weight-loss goals. He or she can offer sound, medically-based advice, reinforce and encourage your new healthy habits and monitor your progress. Knowing that your weight will be monitored can help keep you accountable and make it part of your lifestyle.
Family and friends can offer love and understanding. They can remind you that you are not alone and motivate you to stick to your plan. If you get off track, their words of encouragement may put you back on your path. They can help you make healthy meals and keep snacks around the house that are good for you. Who knows? Maybe your new healthy habits will start rubbing off on them!
A weight-loss support group may be a big help. Regular weigh-ins may help you stay accountable to your goals. They may also encourage you as you change your eating and exercise habits. You may also find a kindred spirit there - someone who is also losing weight and knows the frustration of hitting a stubborn plateau. Sharing your struggles and successes may make reaching your goals easier. You may also find some new skills that have helped others achieve their weight loss goal.
You may also find support elsewhere, including:
- A healthy-eating support group or class
- Online or mobile apps, forums and discussion boards for weight management
- A local health care facility with support groups
- A person in an exercise class who is also looking to change his or her eating habits
Feel free to have several sources of support. Friends and family may be helpful in some ways, but not in others. Maybe a support group at a health care facility can help you monitor your eating habits, while your family may be better at giving you words of encouragement.
Remember, you don't have to go it alone on your weight-loss journey. Having a mix of positive support may be a useful tool in helping you lose weight and keep it off - for good!
Created on 03/18/2013
Updated on 03/18/2013
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Clinical guidelines on the identification, evaluation and treatment of overweight and obesity in adults.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Getting started.
- Weight-control Information Network. Fit and fabulous as you mature.